Assalamu-alaikum. My question relates to the holy month of Ramadan.
It is my understanding that due to the length of the Islamic year, Ramadan appears to happen about 10 days earlier every solar year. In all places on the Earth other than the equator, this means the time we must fast each day gets shorter or longer (as sometimes Ramadan falls in the summer, sometimes in the winter etc). The greater the latitude, the greater the time difference. So for someone in Norway for example, the difference can be quite extreme. They could experience extremely long days in the summer, and extremely short days (and therefore fasting periods) in the winter. However, for someone at the equator, sunrise and sunset are at 6am/6pm every day of the year. So no matter what what time of year Ramadan falls, they will always fast for 12 hours. In addition, someone at the poles for example would experience daylight for many days in one go, or complete darkness for a few days too.
What is the consequence of this for fasting? Would a Muslim on the North Pole have to fast for days at a time? And wouldn't there be a significant difference in the length of time a Muslim in London has to fast, than someone in Mumbai for example?
I understand one of the main principles of fasting is discipline. But doesn't it go too far when someone in the UK for example must fast from 2am until 10pm in the longest days of the summer?
I am currently only 18 years old, and this is the first time in my life I have experienced Ramadan this time of year. I've never noticed fasting becoming this hard before. This year, I am worried I may begin to lack the motivation and resolve to continue as I have always done, and just give up.
I normally thoroughly enjoy Ramadan and even miss it once it has finished. However, now I find myself even dreading this time of year.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In places where there is no day or night, the Muslims will fast according to the times of the closest city that has day and night.
For those who find it incapacitated by fasting during one of those days with long hours, and it is truly so (Allah is the best observer), they are allowed to break their fast and make that day up at some other time of the year, for Allah doesn't burden souls beyond their capacity.
Allah said what means:
"Observing Sawm (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you if only you know." [2:184-Mohsen Khan]
Dear brother, do your best and you will find Allah to be ?the best helper and the most fair.
Allah Almighty knows best.